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Prince Harry to ‘personally connect’ with statue donors as Sussexes skip Diana event

Prince Harry and Prince William unveil Diana statue in July

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The Duke of Sussex is “personally connecting” with donors who contributed to the statue of Princess Diana, which was unveiled by Prince Harry and Prince William in July. This comes after the Californian-based prince announced he and Meghan Markle would not be attending his mother’s memorial party, which is due to be held at Kensington Palace on October 19. 

A source told Us Weekly that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “will not be in attendance” at the private get-together.

They said: “Harry is personally connecting with donors regarding the event.”

“The relationship between Harry and William is still very much one of distance.

“I don’t just mean physical distance across the Atlantic, but they are not talking that much. [There are] still feelings of anger about the way the couple carried out their departure from their royal lives.”

Around 100 guests are expected to join the Duke of Cambridge at the Palace, including close family friends such as Elton John, as well as Diana’s former staff and members of the Spencer family. 

The delayed event was orignially due to take place on July 1, to mark Princess Diana’s 60th birthday and to thank donors who had helped fund the statue of Diana. 

Due to Covid-19, the party was delayed and the statue unveiling was scaled down to a core group of relatives, which included Diana’s three siblings. 

For the statue unveiling, Prince Harry returned to the UK and accompanied Prince William to the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. 

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Meghan Markle remained in California with their two-year-old son Archie, and their four-week-old baby daughter Lilibet Diana. 

The two brothers had commissioned the statue in 2017 to mark what would have been their mother’s milestone birthday. 

Designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, it has been placed in the Sunken Garden and shows the Princess of Wales surrounded by three children, which aims to be representative of her humanitarian work during the later years of her life. 

Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, following a car accident in Paris. Recognised as the most famous woman in the world, her sudden death at the age of 36 sparked unprecedented global mourning. 

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Whilst Prince William and Prince Harry are both committed to preserving their mother’s legacy, the relationship between the two brothers remains tense. 

Their relationship became strained after the Sussexes decided to break away from the Royal Family and relocate to California. 

During their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, Prince Harry spoke of his relationship with Prince William, characterising it as “space”. 

He also said they were “on different paths” and claimed that his brother was “trapped” within the institution. 

Despite displaying a united front during the funeral of Prince Philip in April, and the unveiling of Diana’s statue in July, reconciliatory talks between the two have reportedly been unproductive. 

Meanwhile, Meghan Markle has not seen her royal in-laws since she completed her final royal engagements in March 2020. 

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